Peach Pits Sprouting Now

bberry_gwDecember 16, 2013

I have potted many of them but the real question is will they make it to spring? I have only hardy varieties so they should make hardy trrees and/or rootstock. Comments please!

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Keep them indoors in a cool and unheated place.

It is safe to plant them outdoors after Day temperatures reach 60 DF and night temps reach 50DF.

Source: My own knowledge; i have plum hybrids, and peach x almond hybrids (potted) seedlings growing in the garage.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 1:03AM
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Yes, they need winter protection at this stage and in your zone. I started seventy five of them three or four years ago, and kept them in a greenhouse with the winter temps set just above freezing for nights. With the solar gain, they did start sprouting out leaves prematurely, but also made astonishing growth. Summered that year in pots outside in shaded location, wintered over the second year in same greenhouse and kept bumping up pot sizes, and took that opportunity to start training them.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:19PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Very normal... Its annoying because here in Wisconsin its still a looong ways away from planting them out. Either need to keep them out in a heated greenhouse or put them under lights inside/by a window. Watch the watering, depending on soil temps. I now plant mine out in the yard and they come up in the spring with everything else.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 11:45AM
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I have 'black peach' pits arriving next fall. Do you have to crack the pit before planting in the ground? Thanks, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 11:56AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I assume you guys up north sprout peach pits indoors for fear the seeds wouldn't survive your harsh winters outside.

For folks in warmer climates, there is no need to sprout them in pots. Here, they sprout profusely by simply covering them up with a little mulch or soil. I don't stratify or crack the stone, just plant the whole thing and like most seed, it sprouts all by itself in the spring.

I wonder if you folks in northern climates could successfully grow peach seedlings outside by planting in a protective spot where the ground doesn't get as cold (i.e. south side of the house)?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 5:01PM
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I have never seen a plum or peach pit sprout outdoors. Not sure why but I have seen the voles or other rodents like to stock pile some of them. I generally get lots of suckers from the plums which I dig up and then graft to. Once peaches get a few years on them they seem to be able to take the extremes. There are about 50 peach pits in the trays with at least 10 showing green. Not sure how many more will make it. Once the pits split I remove the hull and plant the inner part. Any hints on doing this would be helpful. I have been putting the pointy part of the kernal down.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 6:24PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I have never seen a plum or peach pit sprout outdoors."

I've read peach seed can be killed in cold temps. I wish I could remember the temps they are hardy to, but can't. There's probably also some varietal variation in seed hardiness.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 2:30AM
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I've thrown thousands of pits over the hill into windrows from when I've canned them, and they land in perfect places to take hold, but to date in a quarter century I have had ONE volunteer peach tree. Here's the zinger, even if they did take off when a pit is planted in ground, this isn't the case with these already germinating seedlings. These seedlings respond to X hours of cold and then warmth, and they have 'little clocks' inside. They're already sprouting and it's premature for your zone. They'll be tender and are too far along for your climate to expose to your winter now. I don't plant the kernel until I see the cotyledons and tap root start, I put the stratified pits into a flat of sand just barely covering them. They'll start the split, and the roots come right out into the sand quickly and the cotyledon will appear almost as rapidly. When the root is starting to get some laterals then they get planted. The moist sand falls easily away without damaging them. I find most the of the kernals have basically fallen away by then. The kernals don't need help to split, really. The green and roots will split them themselves.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 4:49PM
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"Do you have to crack the pit before planting in the ground?"

Yes, that's what I do with mine---the ones that I cold-stratify in summer.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:32PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I've thrown thousands of pits over the hill into windrows from when I've canned them, and they land in perfect places to take hold, but to date in a quarter century I have had ONE volunteer peach tree."


I don't understand that. Drops from peach trees produce seedlings like weeds here. Last summer about 65 new seedlings came up under trees in my back yard (my son accidentally killed about 40 of them spraying for weeds with glyphosate).

If 1000s of peach seeds have produced only one tree, there must be some environmental factor affecting germination of your peach seeds. Peach trees would never have survived if their germination rate was naturally that low in soil.

Below is a pic I took this summer of part of a row of seeds I planted in summer 2012. The pic only shows a few seedlings, but there are about 20 seedlings in that row. There is another row behind that one which has another 20 seedlings in it (not pictured).

I never watered these seedlings all summer, but the wood chips do conserve moisture (I don't know where you live, is it possible the peach pits didn't have enough soil moisture to germinate?)

Most of these trees were a bit too small to graft, but I did graft some (about 10 peaches and 5 plums).

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 9:24PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Came across a bit more information as to some possible causes of the variation in germination rates in peach seeds.

According to MSU (see link at bottom):

"Some peaches will not germinate no matter what you do--it depends on the parents. Some peach variety seeds germinate easily, some poorly, some not at all. Seed from early season varieties (Red Haven season and before) do not germinate readily, and the very early season will not germinate without laboratory culturing work called embryo rescue. So try pits from several different peach varieties."

I had known that some seed from flat peaches was sterile, but had not heard that some other peach seed won't germinate.

I would tend to disagree with their comment about Redhaven seed not germinating readily. I've had plenty of seedlings emerge under the Redhaven tree in my backyard. I think there are 4 seedlings under it right now.

I should also mention in warmer climates, chill can be an issue, so seed needs to be stratified in those areas to achieve chill. This wouldn't be a consideration in the Midwest or Northeast.

Here is a link to growing peach seed in CO

Here is a link that might be useful: MSU - What will happen if I plant a peach pit?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Thanks, that is very good info. Now out of the 50 pits there appears to be about 40 showing green. Visions of peach heaven dancing in my head!!!!! Looks like there will be even more sprouting in the bag. Now I will have to scout for some potting soil. Lots of fun. Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 6:36PM
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I have absolutely no difficulty germinating these pits under greenhouse conditions after stratification, but they do not volunteer and I'm not a novice. I was a professional nurseryman for twenty five years and have started hundreds upon hundreds of trees. The parentage of the trees from which I grow on the pits is unknown. They were chance seedlings given to me by a former customer, who started them from pits himself. They are the best peaches I've ever grown or eaten. Extraordinary taste, size, and fruit bearing. The first of the seedlings grown from the original tree(s) is about ready to start bearing fruit next spring. If they are not the same quality as the parents, I'll be growing rootstock and grafting scions off the original tree because I do not want to lose the genetics on it.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 8:02PM
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